Luxembourg-based drone charging startup SkyGrids has raised €510,000 to bring its technology to market and expand its team.
Three business angels from BAN Flanders and investors created the cash injection for the Technoport-based startup.
SkyGrids, a brand of newspace startup and Fit 4 Start graduate Lunar Grid, aims to automatise, digitise and support smart infrastructures using drones, particularly to carry out repetitive and hazardous tasks.
Its airborne wireless network technology, which was initially developed for extra-terrestrial applications, tracks UAVs via lasers. It then delivers energy to a special modular photovoltaic receptor which can be added to existing drones, enabling the drone to be charged in the air over a distance of up to 10km.
“The main driver to get this funding was the tech demonstration we did. We built a custom drone, figured out support applications and partnered with a couple of organisations,” startup CEO Jan van Baelen told Silcon Luxembourg.
Van Baelen said that feedback from drone operators showed a real need for longer flight times for applications such as inspections of windmill parks, offshore industrial assets and for security and surveillance such as border controls. The company recently employed its first employee, and plans to conduct a commercial demonstration in spring 2024. “We aim to commercialise the first products to be available for late summer 2024,” Van Baelen said, adding that the plug and play technology will be manufactured in Europe.
Lunar Grid has not lost sight of its goal to use the charging technology on the moon. The CEO explained that the business strategy was a “two-step approach”.
He said: “Because energy is so critical for space, both on the moon but also for bigger space applications.”
Van Baelen said that he hoped to be able to do a lunar demonstration of the technology before the 2030s.